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Re: E-M:/ Does prop 2 promote sprawl?

Enviro-Mich message from Cyndi Roper <croper@cleanwater.org>

Clean Water Action and MEC worked very hard during the legislative debate to
make sure this was not a "Sprawl for All" bond proposal. In fact, we refused to
support the proposal before the septic system language and some other landmark
measures were included.

The state is currently funding sewer projects that are directly leading to
sprawl by extending sewer lines into communities -- whether or not the local
residents want the additional growth. If approved, the provisions outlined
below will FINALLY provide residents with statutory measures to protect
themselves from developers' dreams. 

Hmmm....maybe that's who got to the Detroit News? 

The relevant language was included in the following sections of HB 5892 and HB
5893. What is in these bills has two NEW levels of protection against using the
state revolving loan fund (SRF) to subsidize sprawl -- protections that do not
currently exist!

#1 -- Communities can apply for low interest loans to correct septic system
problems rather than assuming they must sewer sensitive areas to protect water

HB 5892
"Section 5202 (1) The authority in consultation with the department shall
establish a strategic water quality initiatives loan program. This loan program
shall provide low interest loans to municipalities to provide assistance for
improvements to a sewage system for 1 or more of the following:
... (b)  Upgrades or replacements of failing on-site septic systems that are
adversely affecting public health or the environment, or both...."

#2 -- A new threshold for determining if an area currently served by septic
systems is eligible for SRF dollars.

HB 5893
"Section 5303 (5) (d) (i): The project addresses on-site septic systems that
are adversely affecting the water quality of a water body or represent a threat
to public health, (emphasis mine) PROVIDED THAT SOIL AND HYDROLOGIC CONDITIONS

Yes, we will need to watchdog how these dollars are being allocated, but we
believe some solid protections are in place to assist us in that endeavor.

I find it amazing that the Detroit News came out against this proposal when
Southeast Michigan has the most neglected sewer systems in the state. CWA's
research in 2001 (based on MDEQ records and data from county/regional health
departments) found the following Southeast Michigan sewage overflow data from
January 1, 2000 through June 30, 2001.

Macomb Co. -- 3.4 BILLION GALLONS
Oakland Co. -- 170 MILLION GALLONS
Monroe Co. -- did not respond to repeated requests for data

The Detroit News argues that the funding priority system -- which has been in
place for years -- prioritizes systems that have been the most neglected. Maybe
they don't know that neglect of sewer systems has been the status quo for
decades and, in the case of many urban systems, for more than 100 years.
Communities aren't going to suddenly start neglecting their systems so they can
qualify for SRF dollars!!

Further, there are clean water laws to consider. How will we ever get the
infusion of cash we need to catch up on the neglect that has taken place? Many
have argued that we should wait for the federal government to send cash our
way. While we'll continue working to secure federal dollars, this bond proposal
will assist us in making strides toward eliminating the MASSIVE volumes of raw
and partially treated sewage (including chemicals that have by-passed
treatment) flowing into the waters of the Great Lakes State. Unlike other bond
proposals, this one puts money into an existing "revolving loan fund" to assist
communities on an on-going basis.

Clean Water Action and MEC also fought hard for two other landmark (sadly)

1) HB 5892, Section 5205 (1) (a) :

"Improvements to reduce or eliminate the amount of groundwater or stormwater
entering a sanitary sewer lead or a combined sewer lead."

If the proposal is approved, Michigan communities could apply for low interest
loans to disconnect footing drains from sewer lines so rainwater can be put
back to use near where it fell instead of continually sending it to the sewer
and increasing the likelihood of sewage overflows. 

2)      "Soft path"/green infrastructure stormwater management strategies will
be eligible for at least 2% of the available funds as described in HB 5892,
Section 5304.  Current funds for stormwater management rely primarily on
building seemingly endless networks of stormdrains to convey clean water away
from where it falls. This is insanity! While 2% isn't enough to correct the
problem, it offers communities the option of pursuing funding for more
innovative and sustainable approaches to stormwater management.


At 02:03 PM 10/29/2002 -0500, Karen D. Kendrick-Hands wrote: 
> Could the supporters of Prop. 2 please respond to this assertion in the
> Detroit News editorial  
> opposing the sewer bond issue?
> "Whatever the rationale for helping local municipal authorities, there is
> none for subsidizing private individuals. Yet about 10 percent of the bond
> money is slated to, among other things, help rural homeowners fix leaky
> septic systems. Underwriting homeowners who choose to locate in remote areas
> would encourage the movement out of core cities and create sprawl."
> Thanks.
> Karen D. Kendrick-Hands
> President
> Transportation Riders United
> 1067 Devonshire Road
> Grosse Pointe Park, MI   48230
> 313.885.7588
> fax 313.885.7883 
> kdkhands@ameritech.net (note new email address; please update your files
> If you don't ask the right questions, in the right order - to the right
> people, you will never get to the right answers . . . . .
> Join TRU today. Check out our NEW webpage at http://www.detroittransit.com 

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